Tier 3 ‘Very High Alert’ restrictions: what it means for City businesses and support available
The Government announced earlier this week that London would be placed into Tier 3: Very High Alert from 16 December. A number of Tier 3 restrictions apply across London to control the spread of COVID-19 and save lives, including:
- you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.
- you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.
- hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
- accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close.
- indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close.
More information on the new restrictions can be found at gov.uk/coronavirus.
Further to previous financial support schemes, the Government announced the introduction of additional assistance over the festive season for businesses affected by Tier 3 restrictions, including:
- Christmas Support Payment for wet-led Pubs – a one-off payment of £1,000 for public houses under Tier 2 and 3 restrictions that derive less than 50% of sales from food and where the ratepayer was established in the pub before 1 December 2020. Check if you're eligible for the Christmas Support Payment for wet-led pubs.
- Grants for businesses impacted while in Tier 3 (LRSG for closed businesses) – for all businesses that are ratepayers and that were instructed to close by the recent Government regulations. This includes hospitality businesses and accommodation services. Leisure and personal care services can open and are not eligible for this grant. The City of London Corporation is working closely with the Government, with first payments expected by January 2021. Check if your business is eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant (for closed businesses).
- Grants for businesses impacted whilst in Tier 2 – the Government have outlined the types of business that they suggest local authorities should support under this discretionary grant scheme (hospitality, hotel and bed & breakfast accommodation and leisure businesses). The City of London Corporation is currently determining the most effective way to distribute this grant and more details on the scheme will be published soon.
- Support for tenants - The City Corporation has provided additional support for a range of tenants throughout the pandemic. This has included deferring rent, charging no late interest and considering rent free periods for at risk tenants upon request. Leadenhall Market tenants have also been offered the option of switching rent to a turnover basis in order to support them during the current difficult trading conditions.
- SMEs business advice support – The City of London Corporation is also offering a wide range of support and advice for smaller businesses, from business webinars, access to reliable business data, advice on accessing finance in response to the challenges of COVID-19 and helping firms to find suitable premises. More information on the City Corporation’s support services can be found here: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/supporting-businesses/business-support-and-advice/supporting-small-businesses
A list of services to support the mental health and wellbeing of City workers can also be found here: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/releasethepressure.
City of London Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness said:“We are disappointed that London has been placed into Tier 3 and this will certainly be a bitter blow to households and businesses across London.
“We urge policymakers to keep the decision under close review, based on the evidence, so that the capital may return to Tier 2 and regain a semblance of normality as soon as possible.
“It’s also essential that support is given to businesses which will suffer the most from these tighter restrictions, including hospitality and cultural enterprises.
“In the meantime, we urge everyone to act responsibly and think about their actions in the lead-up to Christmas, in order to slow transmission, save lives, and protect the NHS. This means continuing to stick to “Hands, Face, Space” – washing or sanitising your hands, wearing a mask and keeping social distancing.
“We all need to remain vigilant to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Together we can beat this virus.”
In order to address the massive challenges faced by the cultural and creative industries in the City, and London more widely, the City of London Corporation has also launched the Culture and Commerce Taskforce. The taskforce assembles leading figures from across the capital to better connect the cultural and commercial sectors.